Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lobster Bisque


  • 1.5kg lobster heads
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaved parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 500ml veal stock
  • 250ml double cream
  • 8 tsp Armagnac
  • sea salt


1. Crush the lobster heads with a mallet or a rolling pin until they are well broken up.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, carrot and celery over low heat. When the vegetables are lightly browned, add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf and the lobster heads, stirring so that the contents do not stick or burn. After about 5 minutes, stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and cayenne pepper. Add the brandy and stir well for a minute or two, then add the wine. Bring to the boil and cook for at least 3 minutes.

3. Add the fish stock and veal stock and bring back to the boil. Season lightly with sea salt. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off the scum that appears on the surface.

4. Drain through a colander set over a large bowl, pressing the lobster bones well to extract all the juices and flavour. Then strain this liquid through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Bring to the boil and skim.

5. To serve, bring the soup back to the boil and allow it to reduce by one-third. Add up to 250ml double cream, according to taste, and boil for 5 minutes. Pour 2 teaspoons Armagnac per person into four warmed soup bowls and pour the soup over it. If you have any lobster claw meat available add that too.

6. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, dress with a little chives and serve immediately.

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